On Wednesday night, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel will lead the 11-5 Panthers into his former home, the historic Cameron Indoor Stadium, to take on No. 24 Duke in a conference battle.
“They’re talented, they’re good, but certainly, that is a factor,” Capel said about Duke’s home-court advantage. “Playing in the hostile environment, it will be loud in there, it will be an energetic crowd. I’m pretty sure their students are back, and it may be the first game that they’re back with school back in session. Yeah, it will be loud, so it’s very, very important for us to communicate.”
Capel played in 60 games as a Blue Devil himself, and coached alongside Mike Krzyzewski for 115 games on the Duke staff. Since arriving at Pitt for the 2018-19 season, Capel is 1-3 against the Blue Devils, taking them down in 2020 in a home game at the Petersen Events Center. However, the North Carolina native has never taken down the Devils at Cameron Indoor yet.
“It’s a great home court,” Capel continued about Cameron. “I thought Syracuse was tough, especially as they started making the run. It [the Carrier Dome] is loud, it’s bigger. Cameron is smaller, and they’re right on top of you, so it probably will be [the most hostile environment that Pitt has played in this season] so far.”
You have to look all the way back to 1940 to find the first game played in the iconic arena, and it was a battle between the Blue Devils and Princeton which ended in a nine-point win for Duke, 36-27. Since then, the iconic stadium has been one of the marquee arenas in sports.
Wednesday night’s game tips off at 7 p.m. on ACC Network live from Durham, North Carolina. Capel’s Panthers have won five of their last six games, while Duke has gone 4-2 in its last six, with losses at Wake Forest and at NC State.